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Response to how British Transport Police will tackle sexual offences on the rail network

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Newton said: "Tackling all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport is, and always will be, a priority for British Transport Police. As a result of two highly successful campaigns – ‘Project Guardian’ and ‘Report it To Stop it’ – the number of sexual offences reported to us has significantly increased.
 
"We will always put victims first and we are determined to deliver an investigative process that is evidence based. It is crucial that we provide a flexible, well-resourced and professional service, which provides victims of sexual offences with the very best chance of achieving a positive outcome from what is undoubtedly a traumatising experience.
 
"Our aim is to ensure that we deal effectively with those sexual offences that are reported to us and make the very best use of our resources and their expertise.
 
"That is why we are ensuring that the significant skills and experience accrued by the existing dedicated Sexual Offences Unit based in London, are captured, standardised and embedded as best practice across the whole new crime business structure at a national level, providing more resources and a consistent and more effective approach to tackling these offences.

"Thankfully, the most serious sexual offences are rare on the railway and they will always be allocated a senior investigating officer supported by a dedicated team. The majority of sexual offences are those where offenders, if arrested, would be unlikely to receive a custodial sentence. Unfortunately, whilst 40% of the victims of these types of offences do not wish to support a prosecution, this does provide us with very valuable intelligence to deploy our resources more effectively.
 
"Currently, crime is at a low of 6.8 offences per million passenger journeys across London Underground, compared with eight offences per million journeys recorded in 2013/14. This is even more impressive when you consider the increase in passenger volume, with 27 million more passenger journeys taking place than last year. In 2014/15, we recorded 12.4 % fewer offences on the Underground in total, which represents 1,359 fewer victims, making the tube network an even safer place to travel.
 
"However, we are never complacent and, based firmly on evidence, we are always looking for continuous improvement to ensure we have the right skills and resources in the right place, at the right time. That is why we have recently conducted a national review of our crime investigation function. Following extensive consultation, and in line with the College of Policing’s Volume Crime Management Model, we are adopting a new three tiered approach to investigation. This will mean greater resource resilience and capacity to handle investigations, this, in turn, will boost detection and ensure a consistent and professional national approach.
 
"As part of this programme of improvement, we are in the middle of a national review of how we tackle sexual offences, to ensure that good practice and more resources are mobilised towards these investigations. Under the new operating model, sexual offences will be investigated by any of the 269 officers dedicated to crime, nationally, enhancing our ability to investigate sexual offences."

For the latest news, updates and insight, follow BTP on Twitter: @BTP.

British Transport Police is the specialist, national police service for Britain’s railways. BTP deals with major and minor crime, disorder and incidents, and covers the rail system in England, Wales and Scotland, including London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, the Glasgow Subway and the Midland Metro and Croydon Tramlink systems. Its 2,972 police officers, 323 Police Community Support Officers, 247 Special Constables and 1,533 support staff are recruited and trained like those of local forces and have the same powers. Find out more at www.btp.police.uk

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